As I went out for my morning walk this morning, I was pondering the seasons and how we can be assured that a new season is just around the corner. I love every season. Summer with the days at the beach and being certain that the washing will dry every day. Autumn with the cooler days and nights and the beautiful colours in the changing leaves. Winter with the snuggling up inside, enjoying reading and playing board games as a family. Spring with evidence of new life and the fresh expectancy of what is to come.
There are also seasons in our life. Seasons of busyness, seasons of dryness, seasons of beauty, seasons of barrenness. The list goes on. They are individual seasons though and our seasons don’t generally marry up with others and their own individual seasons. Just as I look at our ornamental pear trees in the front yard and can bemoan they are not losing their leaves as quickly as the ornamental pear trees up the road which are ten years older and planted at a different time of the year, I also can’t look at others and judge or bemoan where I am at and covet where they are at.
We are all called to lead our own life, in community, but to walk our walk. We are not called to walk our life as another person. God has us in different seasons at different times.
I was pondering this morning that one of the hardest times seems to be when we feel that God seems to have abandoned us or we can’t hear His voice. As I pondered that further, I wondered, is that just because we can’t hear what we are wanting to hear or we just don’t hear about the issue we want to hear about. Usually in those times, we can still see evidence of God around us. He just seems to be communicating with us differently. I then remembered back to a season that was particularly painful for me. Looking back, I can clearly see evidence of God’s hand upon me. I just couldn’t hear Him during that time. I can remember though, when I made the conscious choice to deliberately look for something each day that showed me something about God’s character, He came through each and every day. They were the highlights as I discovered new attributes and new things about God during that time and how He was making Himself known to me during those times. It may have only been a beautifully coloured bird as it swooped down but the colours were startling. It may have been the beauty in a flower. It may have been a Bible verse that stood out. Once I turned my affection to thanking God for the tiny things in that desert season, things began to shift. I also began to realise that I was hearing God, it was just not on the issue I was so desperate to hear Him on, an issue that was extremely painful for me. God was quiet on that issue but loud on several others. Once I turned my heart to thanking Him and worshiping Him no matter what, it changed my whole perspective.
I have a number of friends who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. It is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter months when they are exposed to a lesser amount of sunlight. My friends have realised that holidaying in a warm sunny climate for a few weeks during the winter months makes a huge difference to how they handle the rest of the dreary winter time. They deliberately position themselves to get what they need to be able to handle the rest of the winter season. I wonder, is it about time those of us who are feeling like God isn’t hearing them, those who are in a season of ‘coldness from God’, perhaps need to deliberately reposition themselves and look at how they can reach out and change things completely for a short time in order to hear God clearly again. Some actions that may help may be finding new worship music, a different soaking style, a new method of reading the Bible or listening to an audio version of the Bible, deliberately placing yourself around children or new christians with an insatiable appetite for God that is infectious. Just a thought.
I actually find it interesting that no matter what season (summer, autumn, winter, spring) we are in at the time, we can usually find evidence of other seasons as well. There is not a purity in the season. For example, although it is winter, there are several trees budding at the moment and the gardenias and camellias are flowering beautifully, whilst some trees with leaves are still changing colours and are still to drop their leaves. The same is apparent in our life. Even though we may believe we are in a barren season, we can usually still find evidence of God working in and through our life. It may just be a bit harder to realise.
I encourage you, no matter what season you appear to be in at the moment, to specifically look for the little things God is using to show you He cares.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!
Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1. Children / Families Activation: Select a person for each child/family member to draw a picture for. Look out a window and ask God to highlight something in the environment outside that speaks about this person. Draw this for the person.
2. Group Activation: Have people pair up. Spend a few minutes asking God to highlight the favourite part of this current weather season you are in for this person. Ask Him to then show you more about how that favourite part of the season relates to that persons life and character and journey. Share with your partner.
3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to show or tell you about a person you know and what season they are about to go into. Ask God to elaborate on the picture you see or words you hear and ask Him for a key for that person for that season. Share encouragingly with that person.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to show you what season you are in at the moment and what you still need to learn or realise before you enter into the next season. Ask God to reveal to you what He has for you in the next season or a key for that season. Journal God’s and your responses.
5. Advanced Activation: Spend 5-10 minutes with God asking Him to show you where you will be in 3 years time or some geographic area you will go to in that time. Ask God to ‘fill in’ the picture or elaborate on the words. Press in for a clarity about it. Journal what you see, hear, feel.